The highest number of obese children lives in China (>28 million), followed by the United States of America (>13 million), India (>7.5 million), Brazil (>5.2 million) and Mexico (>5.1 million). Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq complete the top 10 countries. China’s prevalence is with 11.7% rather average, the high absolute number is a result of the big population.
The highest prevalence among children is recorded on the Pacific island states of Nauru and Palau (both >30%), Tonga, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands (all above 23%). Kuwait, Samoa, the United States and Micronesia all have an obesity prevalence of more than 20%.
Overall the world is split in three parts, 22 countries have a prevalence of 15% or more, among them mostly developing countries, with the exception of developed and emerging economies like United States of America, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and UAE. The middle field – 5-15% is mixed, all EU states are here. Among those Greece has with 13.8 the highest prevalence, followed by Italy (12.5) and Hungary (11.1). The lowest prevalence among the EU countries was estimated for Estonia (6.3)
On the lowest end – below 5% prevalence of obesity – you find (with only the exception Japan with 3.3) the poorest countries in the world, most Sub-Sahara African countries are among those, plus some South-East and Central Asian states where malnutrition is still a bigger problem than obesity.
According to the WHO: ” Estimates of the number of overweight infants and children in the WHO European Region rose steadily from 1990 to 2008. Over 60% of children who are overweight before puberty will be overweight in early adulthood. Childhood obesity is strongly associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, orthopaedic problems, mental disorders, underachievement in school and lower self-esteem. The worldwide prevalence of obesity nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008. According to country estimates for 2008, over 50% of both men and women in the WHO European Region were overweight, and roughly 23% of women and 20% of men were obese. Based on the latest estimates in European Union countries, overweight affects 30-70% and obesity affects 10-30% of adults.”